Customer relationship management is getting more important day by day. As competition in the markets increases with rapid globalization and lower entry barriers, it is becoming increasingly crucial for businesses to ensure that their relationship with every customer remains well-oiled. In such a situation, what is the one thing that companies can focus on to nurture great customer relationships? Undoubtedly, it is old-good but often overlooked customer service.
If you succeed in providing an excellent customer service experience, you can easily give your competitors a run for their money. And fortunately, if you take the right approach, it is also not very difficult to improve your customer service. What is that approach? Well, that is precisely what we are going to explain in this article. We are going to tell you about seven practical ways you can improve your online customer service. Let us begin!
#1. Train your employees to interact positively
The first thing you need to do is training your employees on how to interact positively with customers. Customer support staff comes across a wide variety of customers who may be going through a wide range of phases and moods, and knowing how to deal with them is an art. Given below are three critical skills that must be taught to any customer support executive for excellent customer service:
- Listening more than saying: Customers come in various types – from enthusiastic to ecstatic to irate to purely disillusioned. How they behave also depends to a large extent on what they are going through. In an ordinary situation, you can deal with them anyhow, but the problem is that it is not a usual situation. They are your customers, and you earn your revenue from them. So, your customer service representatives must listen to their complaints with empathy and patience. Listening more than speaking is a necessary skill that every customer support employee must be trained in.
- Clear Communication: Once your representatives know how to listen with empathy and patience, the next thing that comes into the picture is communication. They need to be able to communicate the solution of their complaints to the customers. A lot of times, new problems are created because of poor communication skills or miscommunication. Therefore, the next skill you should train your employees is the art of clear and precise communication.
- Knowledge: Once your customer support staff is trained in the art of listening and communicating, you should provide them all knowledge that is necessary to have about your products to give an excellent customer service experience. Once this last bit of training is complete, your representatives will be ready to serve the customers.
#2. Improve service at all touchpoints
Let us accept it – customer experience is not limited to your product alone. Today a lot of other things also form part of the customer experience. Right from the beginning of the purchase process to when someone uses your product for the last time, there is a long lifecycle for every product and customer. There are multiple touchpoints during this lifecycle when a customer encounters your product or your business. You should ensure that your customer service is perfect if anything goes wrong at any of those touchpoints.
For instance, if you sell your product online through an e-commerce store and some of your customers get charged during the order process, but the order fails, who will they want to contact? They will reach your customer service, and you should ensure that your customer service representatives have the skills and expertise needed to fix this issue.
#3. SSL certificate’s protection.
While this step is linked more to cybersecurity than customer service, it is an integral part of customer experience, making sense to include it in our list. If an SSL certificate does not protect your website, Google Chrome and other browsers mark it as insecure, which leaves a sense of fear and uncertainty in your customers’ minds. They feel that something is not right with your website, and if this feeling comes when they are seeking customer support, it becomes a part of the customer service experience. Many users do not even seek any assistance from a support page with a prominent “Not Secure” label on the top.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to avoid this problem. All you need to do is install a EV SSL Certificate on your web server, as EV SSL carries the highest validation and protects against MiTM attacks and phishing activities.
#4. Ensure customer service representatives’ satisfaction.
You can never provide an excellent customer service experience if your representatives are not satisfied and engaged in their job. Therefore, strategies to improve employee engagement can also result in a better customer service experience. Periodically interview your representatives to determine their views about working conditions, career advancement and growth opportunities they expect, compensation and benefits they may be seeking, and whether they face any other kind of problems in dealing with customers. And whenever possible, try to fix their problems to keep them engaged in their job. Also, focus on improving your work environment.
#5. Collect feedback (and improve from it)
You can learn a lot about what is right and what is wrong with your customer service from customers themselves. All you need to do is collect feedback from them after they are done with receiving assistance from your representatives. There are many ways to do so, from asking them to rate their experience on a scale of 10 to make them participate in a short survey. Whichever method you choose, make sure that the effort required to submit the feedback is not too much. A good rule of thumb is to make it easy enough to be submitted in 1-2 minutes. If it takes more than 2 minutes, your customers are unlikely to take an interest in it, and therefore you are unlikely to learn anything about how to improve your customer service.
#6. Never underestimate the power of personal contact
We are stepping into the era of Artificial Intelligence, and the impact of AI and automation is visible in customer servicing trends. More and more businesses incorporate automated customer servicing tools like chatbots, voice assistants, and other similar do-it-yourself support features. And it also makes sense to some extent – if some people are asking for information, that information can be provided easily by a bot. However, never underestimate the power of old, good personal contact. Humans like interacting with humans, and our so-called smart customer support tools are still far from attaining a human’s intelligence level. So even if you integrate these tools into your customer service, always keep it easy to interact with one of your representatives. If someone wants to do that, they should be able to do that easily.
#7. Ensure a quick turnaround time
We live in a fast-paced world, and nobody has got the time to wait. Especially not for customer service. Suppose your customer service representatives are so busy that the customers are forced to wait for long durations before they receive assistance. In that case, things are already turning sore even before your representative steps-in to make them right. So always ensure that you’ve enough representatives employed in your customer support team to cater to your customers’ queries. None of your customers deserves to wait for more than 2-3 minutes in the queue to receive help.
Good customer service is essential to survive in today’s competitive markets, and these seven practical ways to improve your online customer service can help you provide excellent customer service easily. You do not need a ton of expertise and investment to implement any of these steps, so start working on them from today to reward your customers with a positive experience throughout your products’ lifecycle. All the best!